The Direct vs Partner-Led Dilemma

The Direct vs Partner-Led Dilemma

Allan Adler 4 min

Who is excited about PLXSummit? Be sure to register here, if you haven’t already done so. I’m lucky enough to be presenting 3 times on Sales - Day 4 - and Success - Day 5. I am especially excited about my keynote on GoToEco for CROs - here’s a preview if you just can’t wait!

In preparation, I’ve been getting ready to tell a story to GTM leaders, the vast majority of whom focus on and operate Direct-led GTMs. These leaders face an existential crisis in 2022, which is best depicted in my Dilemma matrix below.

GTM needs help

Their RevOps teams, functional organizations, and business metrics have been built on a driving process that delivers predictable and scalable process efficiencies, optimized around key functions. That’s a good thing, but unfortunately, the process tactics, such as optimizing for marketing lead conversion or sales-qualified opportunities are not producing needle-moving business outcomes.

Simply put, the direct-only GTM engines that previously delivered sales and CS outcomes have deteriorated. The cost of customer acquisition has skyrocketed and most companies only achieve a 0.010% conversion rate from the top of the funnel to closed deals (Source: John Mecke) and 53% of committed deals are not closing (Source: Gong).

At the same time, RevOps teams have optimized processes, invested heavily in sales and marketing processes, analytics, and automation, and continued to hone and improve core processes in demand generation, lead-to-close, and customer advocacy. Though the results no longer deliver the required business outcomes, the sub-processes from marketing to sales, to customer success are understood, optimized, and predictable.

Partner-led Delivers Results

Conversely, Partner-led motions are now starting to deliver business outcomes. Extole reports that Referred business has a 70% higher conversion rate. And, when joint solutions are sold into partner accounts (to create sourced revenue outcomes), they close 50% faster (source: Freshworks), and at a 34% higher ACV, according to data from Census. The only problem is that EcoOps (where PartnerOps meet RevOps) are still quite immature resulting in inefficiencies in the process that make partner-led activities unpredictable (they sometimes work) and non-scalable (they are often manual and lack standardization).

This places CROs and CMOs in an inevitable dilemma of picking between the mostly direct-only GTM that they know & that drive their OKRs and comp plans and the unknown of partner-led GTMs.

We ran a pole last week that verified these points and explained some of the headwinds that face partnership teams as they attempt to align partners and direct GTM OKRs, KPIs, and processes. The pole demonstrates that CROs’ resistance to leveraging partnerships is based on a lack of experience/confidence (40%), fear of losing control (27%), and lack of perceived ROI from current partnering efforts (23%).

How to leverage GoToEco

The good news for CMOs and CROs is that there is a way around the dilemma which is to leverage GoToEco Engines to become true Ecosystem Businesses by following these three simple but core principles:

  1. Adopt the GoToEcosystem mindset and approach (see our part 1 and part 2 articles for details). The GoToEco mindset provides a step-wise process that moves partners from a business appendage to becoming an EPS (Efficient, Predictable, and Scalable) engine of net new logo and NRR growth.
  2. Create GoToEco Bundles: Once partnership teams align to create authentic partnership products and empower these products with validated customer use cases, compelling better-together stories, marketing BOMs, and Campaigns, these products are set up for scalable monetization.
  3. Leverage ABM to monetize these partnership products. Account-based Marketing combined with Account-based selling when aligned with partnership products delivers out-of-the-park results. Our work implementing GoToEco Engines drives results like this:
  • Case Study 1: 400% increase in ARR with 5x increase in sales qualified pipeline.
  • Case Study 2: 30% increase in ARR with 3x increase in sales qualified pipeline.
  • Case Study 3: 75% closed/won sales qualified opportunities with a 22% increase in free trial activations to premium.

DM me if you’d like to learn more. Let’s set up a discussion to help your CMO or CRO learn how to move up and to the right toward building true Ecosystem Businesses leveraging partnership products and ABM best practices aligned to partnership products.

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Allan Adler 4 min

The Direct vs Partner-Led Dilemma

Partner-led motions are now starting to deliver business outcomes.

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